As you know, Ginbot 20 or May 28 is one of the days that is highly celebrated in Ethiopia to commemorate the downfall of the Derg regime. This year though, I was highly curious on how the celebrations are going take place; and the reason for my curiosity is the tension between the TPLF, which was at the forefront of the victory of the Derg regime, and the current federal government we are witnessing on the media. Although Abiy Ahmed (PhD) extended his congratulatory message to the public on this day, the celebratory mood was like no other when compared to the celebrations that took place before the advent of Prime Minister Abiy to power. Of course, this may have, to a large part, has to do with the COVID-19 that prevented the assembly of the public for celebrations. Nevertheless, the tension between the TPLF and the federal government has its role to play as well. I was scrolling around local TV channels to see if these transmitted old video footages of the fight of TPLF and other fighters against the Derg and their victory but I could find none. This was with the exception of Tigray TV of course. This made me sad in a way. The victory is the victory of the Ethiopian people regardless of what the TPLF or the previously ruling EPRDF may have done wrong when ruling the country for 27 years.
As I expected it, one of the local TV channels showed on the night of this year’s Ginbot 20 a documentary on the human right violations that the victory of Ginbot 20 resulted in. In this documentary, political activists that claimed to have been tortured by the previously ruling political party were given the opportunity to describe all sorts of human right violations that they were made to endure. Honestly speaking, watching this documentary to the end was not easy. It was heart breaking. But still, the fact that this documentary was purposely shown on Ginbot 20 to completely dismiss any benefits that have been derived from the victory over the Derg regime also made me sad. Contrary to this, Tigray TV took much of its airtime to celebrate the day. The ironic thing is that, few days later, Amnesty international released a report on human right violations in Ethiopia casting doubt on Abiy’s administration stands towards human rights.
As a layman watching on the media the among occurrences evolve, a number of questions came to my mind. First, why is it that whenever a change of government takes place in this country, there is always feelings of hatred and hostility between the government newly in power and the one that has been ousted? Is it fair that the only thing the ousted government should be remembered for are its wrongdoings? And besides, how can a government that is newly in power be able to criticize and dismiss the contributions of the previous government without making sure that it is not repeating the same mistakes as the previous one? Why is it always so hard to find areas of reconciliation or common areas to work on between the new and old government? Why is it so difficult to thank previously ruling governments for what they have done right just as much it is striven hard to blame and criticize them for what they have done wrong? Is this, maybe why governments that come newly into power always have some enemy at their back waiting for the right time to retaliate? I wish there was not so much animosity between old and new governments and that these could find a middle ground to reconcile for the sake of the people they claim to be standing for!